One of our most-anticipated TVs of 2021 is the LG A1, which we've known very little about so far, other than that it would be LG's lowest-priced OLED set to date. Any cheaper TV that can crash our list of the best OLED TVs is very welcome, but we needed to hear more about the A1 before getting really excited.
Well, now we know lots more, because it's suddenly appeared for sale, and has received its first review.
It's the 55-inch version of the set that's gone on sale, and it's actually even cheaper than we expected: £1,099 for the 55-inch version, which was thought to be more likely to go for around £1,300. That means we expect the 48-inch version to storm into our list of the best TVs under £1,000… though the moment, it seems to also be arriving with a price of £1,099, but we don't think that will hold.
The 65-inch version for £1,799 is really well-priced compared to the 2021 LG C1 model, which costs £2,499 by comparison.
The LG A1 is also available in a 77-inch model, which AO.com is listing for £3,699. That's only £300 less than the 77-inch LG C1, so that's not looking like such great value at launch.
The sets are also arriving in the US, where the official $1,599 price for the 55-inch seems to have been ignored in favour of a $1,399 price, which is also great to see. In Australia, you're looking at as low as AU$2,130.
That said, if you are planning to buy today, you should probably look to the LG BX instead. This is a better-specified model from late last year, and in the UK at least is currently cheaper for its 55-inch model than the A1 is (because the A1 is brand new, and the BX is not).
The LG BX includes HDMI 2.1, including support for 4K 120Hz and Variable Refresh Rate gaming features, which has meant it sits proudly in our guide to the best gaming TVs. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X support HDMI 2.1 features, so the BX is the better option for its future-proofing.
Both sets include the same image processor, and the A1 has less powerful speakers – so all in all, we'd say that the LG BX is the better buy right now. But because it's an older model, it's rapidly disappearing from shelves. Here's our full LG BX review.
LG A1 review: it's good news
As for the very early review of the LG A1, that's come from rtings.com, and it's very good news for low-price OLED dreamers.
The biggest takeaway is that the A1 "delivers nearly identical picture quality to the more expensive OLEDs, like the LG C1", according to rtings. Considering how good the C1 is, that's high praise indeed – here's our full LG C1 review.
They also highlighted the things that OLED does best – the wonderful contrast ratio and precision in bright areas, and the uniformity of its black levels – and also noted that the a7 image processor is still very capable upscaler of lower-res footage to 4K, despite being less advanced than the C1's processor.
Its biggest issue is the lack of brightness – it's a common thing for OLED, but especially at the more budget level. It means that the A1 is very susceptible to glare, so if watching in a brightly sunlit room, you may struggle to see what's going on, particularly in dark scenes (since the whole advantage of OLED is that it can go very dark).
But we also knew this would be the case, so it sounds like the A1 delivers exactly what it needs to, with the exception of next-gen gaming features. We can't wait to give it a full review ourselves soon enough.